By Mary-Justine Lanyon
The International Cities of Peace has as its vision “to ensure everyone’s right to safety, prosperity, and quality of life, the consensus values of global peace.”
The organization was founded in 2009 by J. Frederick Arment of Dayton, Ohio, the first city to be named an International City of Peace. Since 2009, the association has, according to its website, “inspired hundreds of Cities of Peace in large and small cities, towns, villages and neighborhoods to take practical and impactful actions to increase the safety, prosperity and quality of life for all in their community.”
It comes as no surprise that Crestline resident Rudy Westervelt, with the help of his wife, Karyn, launched the effort to proclaim Crestline an International City of Peace. Westervelt organized two peace conferences that took place in Ontario and that were attended by hundreds of people from around the world. An outgrowth of the 2016 peace conference was the formation of the Rotary E-club of World Peace. That club started with 26 members and now has 96 in 10 countries.
“We would like Crestline to become an International City of Peace,” Westervelt said in January, when he filed a letter of intent with International Cities of Peace.
“It is quite peaceful here,” he said, noting that the community offers great education, has a world-class supermarket, a walking trail around Lake Gregory, restaurants and businesses.
“We know there are drugs in the community,” Westervelt said but that, he said, is an opportunity to take action to increase the safety of the community as a whole.
Part of the process of establishing Crestline as an International City of Peace was to set some immediate goals. Those, Westervelt said, are to reduce crime, support homelessness needs and support wildfire education for current and new homeowners.
The official proclamation will take place on Monday, March 14 at noon on the north shore of Lake Gregory. Expected guest speakers include Supervisor Janice Rutherford, Lt. Craig Harris from the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Station, historian Rhea-Frances Tetley and representatives from some of the community’s service organizations and clubs.
The community is invited to attend the ceremony to both celebrate Crestline’s designation and to learn how they can become involved in achieving the goals.
“The whole process took about two months,” Westervelt said. “Now the work begins.”
For more information on International Cities of Peace, visit www.internationalcitiesofpeace.org.